“The Golden History”
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artists: Leonard J. Kirk & Kris Justice
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Yes, I do indeed buy Marvel Comics. I realize the majority of my reviews focus primarily on DC, but there are a few Marvel titles I enjoy. You can now add Agents of Atlas to that group. Perhaps it's the Silver Age feel of the book, or perhaps that it's just a fun book to read. Either way, AoA is one of the better titles Marvel has produced recently.
I know nothing of Jeff Parker. I've never read anything he's written up until now. However, if whatever he's written in the past is anything like this first issue, his future is bright. He's taken characters from a bygone era of comics and has breathed life into them. Characters such as Marvel Boy, M-11 the Human Robot , Gorilla Man, the Yellow Claw, et al. He not only was able to tell their story from 1959, but have it work well within the current confines of the Marvel Universe.
The story is essentially that of Jimmy Woo, leader of the Agents in the late fifties and now a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. It tells of his working with this group of select individuals and their rescue of the President Eisenhower from the clutches of the Yellow Claw and…. geisha girls? (Yes, I think I'll like this book…!) The story fast forwards to the present, and we discover how Woo got to his current position with S.H.I.E.L.D. and his unauthorized mission that now has him barely surviving and on life support.
Now as grim and dour as that sounds, the book really is a fun romp in the Marvel Universe that is rarely touched upon. Because despite the fact that Woo may be injured, his former Agents mount a rescue attempt of their own before the plug can be pulled on him. And so begins a new era for the Agents….
Now part of the reason this book is such a joy to read is the art by Leonard Kirk & Kris Justice. Kirk's style is very clean, somewhat whimsical, and perfect for this type of story. I mean, how can you not get a kick out of seeing a gorilla armed with four machine guns, one in each hand and foot, firing away? Things like that one scene make you realize that this is not your average Marvel comic. Kirk has found the book for him to cut loose and just have fun. And it definitely shows. Plus he has kept the characters true to themselves and didn't do “updates” to their look. That alone deserves high praise.
As I stated in the beginning, this is just a fun read. It's also very accessible to anyone. You don't need to know who did what, where and when. The story starts right off, and you're there for the ride. Well, this is one ride I want to be on for a long time and not just for six issues. But for the next six issues I'm going to be recommending this book to everyone I know. It looks like Marvel has struck gold once again, but this time it sure feels like Silver to me.
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